Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Twenty Years, Really?? Yes, It's Been Twenty Years

Copyright 2015, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Twenty years ago today, Man and I moved into this stick built.  It was a step out of his comfort zone, he had never lived anywhere that did not have paved roads or sidewalks, more-less a septic system.

We arrived in fashion, err, with a bit of a show, I believe there were 5 vehicles in the caravan.  A U-Haul enclosed truck, 3 cars full to the top with people, stuff, house plants (feel for the family member that had to deal with the cacti), pets, a few bottles of beer (cold beer), food and Carol pulling up the rear of the caravan with the van pulling an enclosed U Haul trailer, again, full to the brim.  There were 6 of us I believe, maybe 7.  

We drove into the yard and I heard rumors that the neighbors started with palpitations, wondering who was moving in and how many of us there were.  It would take us till Thanksgiving week to get settled in, put in carpet in the three bedrooms upstairs, paint a bit, hang the art and such. We would eventually purchase two mowers, the garden tractor/mower and the Gravely.  Also purchased a large generator, chain saws, a large snow thrower, my little trailer that goes behind the garden tractor (Carol's Toy) and so many other "country" toys I cannot remember them all.

In the 20 years we have built a pole barn and had the front part of the house rebuilt due to water damage.  We have replaced the furnace, while Man was conveniently at his Mothers and I was home freezing my keester, err, back side off.  50 in a house is just toooooo cold, the heating blanket was my savior! We replaced the pump on the well and the water softener.  The central air is still going, much to our surprise!

We even built "Carol's Folly" a bridge.  It was always wet down there, except for the 3 or 4 years after we built the bridge, then, it was dry, dry dry.  Of course.

We have wildlife, wild turkey, skunk (eww), possom, rabbits, deer, wood ducks, mallards, geese, snapping turtles, sand hill cranes, lots of song birds, hummingbirds, and one blue herron that comes only in August. And, those are the creatures I have seen.  

We have cut trees down, planted others. Every hole we dig to put in flora is a challenge as we sit on a gravel pit created by receding glaciers a few years back.  Every hole is full of sand and rocks of varying sizes.

The first few years I drug hoses from April till November, 300 foot of hose all hooked together.  I watered flora for up to 12 hours a day. It takes that long when you have 30 some new trees to water, not counting the bushes and flower beds. Truly, it is a miracle I did not burn up the pump on the well (it lasted 18 years!)

We have had our share of storms, a few tornado like storms, and one doozie of an ice storm.  Said ice storm took out the power, of course.  Man hooked up the generator in the pole barn, but, we could still hear it running all night.  We also heard the crashing and crunching as the ice broke and shattered in so many pieces and took down so many limbs.  It was unforgettable!  And, it took a lot of work to clean up all those limbs.  Thank you chain saws!

The seasons change, the fog rolls in, the sun rises. I listen to the geese arrive in the spring and depart in the fall. They make a lot of honking noise, but, you get used to it.  Even more amazing is hearing the "peepers" in the spring.  Sometimes I have to close the windows and doors to have some peace and quiet to fall asleep to.  They are louder than trains at some campgrounds we have been in.

We have had some significant snows, one or two that were 18 inches and more. Driving out in 18 inch snow storms can be epic, or at least thrilling.  Driving out the gravel roads during an ice storm is not so epic or  interesting. That is because after the first 360 degree turn, at the end of the drive, you just limp back up the driveway and stay home.  It is about 1.5 miles to the paved road, when it is icy, it could be 150 miles.  Makes no difference.  Just. Stay. Home.

Yes, 20 years. It is hard to believe.  Laughter, tears, fear, joy.  6 yorkies and 2 kitties.  Marriages, births, deaths.  Graduations.  Life goes on, good and bad, happy and sad.  And, yet, every spring, life renews.

And, there are full moons, and sometimes I capture them with Sony Too, like last night.

We truly are blessed.  Twenty years.  And counting  - - -


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Grandtwins and Horse Camp

Copyright 2015, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

This week the grandparents and the grandtwins went to horse camp.  They rode, we did not.

Tana parked with the other trailers, including horse trailers that have living quarters in the front.

The first sunrise, Monday morning, was stunning, looking down at the training areas, a tractor grading, preparing for classes and learning to come.

Later in the ring.  The grandtwins with grampa looking on.

One of the English classes:

This is a double class, two classes in the same ring at the same time, each using half of the ring.  These students were in "western" riding classes.

One of our views.  We actually had a nice campsite, overlooking the practice rings and the barn.  We could sit and watch lots of activity.  It was worth the trouble setting up (yep, took 3 times to get Tana in there correctly, long story, best forgotten.  LOL)

Twin "M":

Twin "L":

Monday evening, we had a bit of Mother Nature excitement.  We were evacuated.  

We had pro-active cautious weather aware staff at the campground and coordinating staff running the camp. They took VERY good care of us. They made us aware of where we would need to go and what conditions would deem what to do. So when it came time to move us into a safe place they knocked the on Tana's door and told us to evacuate.  So we spent a bit of time in the safe place with lots of kids and a few dogs and a bunch of parents with every weather app imaginable up and active.  Happy to report that we had just some heavy rain and that was about all.  There were tornadoes that night in SE Michigan. Prayers for those affected.

There were lots of other activities to keep them busy when not in class, such as a friendly game of cards:

The horses on break, having a snack of fresh grass:

One evening, games, involving, water, kids, some mud, and a lot of fun.  Water balloon tossing:

And, then, bucket brigades:

And, yes, the ever popular, tug-of-war.  Note, the mud in between the teams.  After this they played a VERY long game of "flags" in another arena.  It went on for hours.  Tired kids slept well that night, but, there was a considerable amount of "I'm tired" whining heard the next morning.

They fed us well, 3 squares a day:

They had a "head to head" riding contest, western riding.  I did not have a very good vantage point for photos for this event. It was fun to watch.  As contestants were eliminated the hooting and hollering from the crowd grew louder.

A photo op at the end of the week:

And, the sun set on the week, it was a great camp.

It was a great experience.  Met lots of very nice people.  Stepped out of our comfort zones.  And, yes, if asked, we would do it again.